Smola's FFPC Mock Draft Recap
by Jared Smola
With the brunt of free-agency behind us and the NFL Draft in the books, the 2012 fantasy football season is starting to take shape. Now comes the fun part: drafts, drafts, and more drafts!
Kevin English and I were recently invited to participate in an FFPC format mock draft. For those of you unfamiliar with the Fantasy Football Players Championship rules, here’s the rundown:
2 Flex (RB, WR, or TE)
Standard with 1 PPR for RBs and WRs and 1.5 PPR for TEs
With 1.5 PPR for TEs and 2 flex spots, TEs shoot up the MVP Board rankings in this format. And the TEs go early and often in the drafts. Figuring out when to pounce on the position is key in the FFPC. Reach too early and the rest of your roster suffers. But if you wait too long, you’ll be stuck with a scrub as your starter.
While the results of this draft differ quite a bit from more standard formats, it’s still interesting to start to get an idea of the “general consensus” on players.
Here’s a round-by-round look at how I assembled my team from the #8 spot…
1.08 – Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
Things get wild-and-crazy after the top-3 RBs are off the board. But Johnson is one of my top targets after Foster, Rice, and McCoy. Nothing broke right for him last season. Between the lockout and his holdout, he had just 9 days to prepare for the season-opener. Then he ran behind an offensive line that finished dead-last in Football Outsiders’ run-blocking rankings. I expect both Johnson and the big uglies in front of him to be better in 2012. A top-5 finish is well within reach.
2.05 – Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
I was hoping either Gronk or Graham would make it back to me here, but that was a pipe dream. The two stud TEs went at 1.10 and 2.01. That left me staring at Fitzgerald, Roddy White, and A.J. Green. The Bengal has the most upside, while Fitz and White have been two of the most consistent fantasy WRs over the past few seasons. I opted for the safety – and Fitzgerald’s slightly higher ceiling.
3.08 – Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Higher than I’ll usually take a QB, but the value was too good to pass up here. Brees has finished as a top-2 QB in 4 of the past 6 seasons. The 2 other years saw him rank 4th and 6th. I’m not overly concerned with his contract issues or the season-long suspension of HC Sean Payton. Brees is a top-5 lock with the potential to lead all QBs in fantasy points.
4.05 – Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears
I have a feeling B-Marsh will be on a lot of my teams this year. The last time Jay Cutler, Marshall, and OC Jim Bates were together, Marshall went for 104 catches, 1,265 yards, and 6 TDs. Those numbers are reachable in 2012. Marshall looks like a top-10 PPR WR to me. I nabbed him as the 14th WR off the board here. Antonio Gates was my other consideration, but I no longer see a big gap between him and guys like Vernon Davis, Fred Davis, and Dustin Keller.
5.08 – Marques Colston, WR, Saints
Missed out on Antonio Brown by 1 pick. He’s an absolute steal in the 5th. But I’ve got no problem with Colston here as my WR3. Last year was his 5th 1,000-yard campaign in 6 pro seasons. As long as that bum knee holds up, he shouldn’t have a problem making it 6 out of 7. Colston should see a bump in targets after the departure of Robert Meachem.
6.05 – C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills
With a stud QB and a trio of talented WRs locked-up, it’s time to start adding some high-upside RBs. Spiller certainly fits the bill. We’ll have to see how Buffalo decides to divvy up their backfield touches between Spiller and Fred Jackson, but the former 1st-rounder definitely earned a sizeable role with a sizzling finish to the 2011 season. Over the final 6 weeks, Spiller racked up 633 total yards and 5 TDs, ranking 4th among RBs in fantasy points. His upside isn’t quite that high with Jackson around, but Spiller could definitely crack the top-15 in this PPR format.
7.08 – Dustin Keller, TE, Jets
I would have preferred Fred Davis – who went right after me in the 6th – but I’ve got no problem with Keller as my TE1. He finished 9th at the position in this format last year. Keller has upped his reception and yardage totals in each of the past 3 seasons and could easily take another step forward in 2012. He isn’t going to win me this league, but paired with a stud QB and a strong core of RBs and WRs, Keller is plenty strong enough to be my starter.
8.05 – Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
A 30-year-old back with an extensive injury history, McGahee comes with plenty of risk. But I think he’s worth rolling the dice on in the 8th-round. He looked rejuvenated on his way to a 4.8 yards-per-carry average and 25th-place fantasy finish last year. Peyton Manning’s arrival in Denver figures to mean fewer carries but more scoring opportunities for McGahee.
9.08 – Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
Continuing to stockpile high-upside RBs. You know the deal with Best: electric when healthy, but rarely healthy. He’s had an encouraging offseason, though, and will at least start the year as the lead back on an explosive offense. Best has caught 85 balls in 21 career games. He has Darren Sproles-like upside if he can stay on the field. And the fact that he’s my RB4 mitigates the risk.
10.05 – Lance Moore, WR, Saints
Moore finished 34th among WRs in this format last season – despite missing 2 games. He should settle in right around there again in 2012. And he could vault higher with Robert Meachem out of the picture. I’ve run the gamut on the Saints’ passing game with Brees, Colston, and now Moore. Not a bad aerial attack to rely on.
11.08 – Owen Daniels, TE, Texans
On the heels of a couple injury-riddled seasons, a healthy Daniels bounced-back to post 54 catches and 677 yards last year. He was 16th among TEs in FFPC scoring. He should finish at least that high in 2012. A low-upside but relatively reliable TE2.
12.05 – Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals
If this guy ever breaks out, I’m going to be around for it. Cedric Benson is gone, and the Bengals only replaced him with the similarly-mediocre BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Scott should open the 2012 season as an 8-12 touch guy. And it wouldn’t be surprising if his role grew beyond that.
13.08 – Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks
The undrafted free-agent quietly compiled 788 yards and 4 scores on 51 catches in his 2011 rookie campaign. He finished 41st among WRs in PPR scoring and could be even better this year if he gets improved QB play from Matt Flynn.
14.05 – Jake Locker, QB, Titans
I expect him to beat out Matt Hasselbeck this summer and pilot one of the most explosive passing games in the league. In what amounted to about 1 game’s worth of action last season, Locker racked up 542 passing yards and 4 scores, plus another 56 yards and 1 TD on the ground. There’s top-10 upside here.
15.08 – Tony Moeaki, TE, Chiefs
Like his upside as my TE3. Moeaki has major durability issues and will need to fend off Kevin Boss for targets this year. But he flashed definite play-making ability during a 47-catch, 556-yard 2010 rookie season.
16.05 – Stephen Hill, WR, Jets
He’s extremely raw and joining a shaky passing attack. But Hill is a freak of nature – a 6’4, 215-pounder with 4.3 speed. Those don’t grow on trees. It figures to be a rollercoaster rookie season, but I could see Hill posting a couple 100-yard outings. I’ll take that in the 16th-round.
17.08 – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
Why not? Sure – Moreno is despised by his coaching staff and is attempting to return from a torn ACL. But even if he can just hold off rookie Ronnie Hillman, he’d have intriguing upside as a change-of-pace back in a Peyton Manning-led offense. Moreno also serves as a handcuff to Willis McGahee.
18.05 – Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Titans
Just in case Tennessee makes a mistake and goes with Hasselbeck as their Week 1 starter.
19.08 – Giants defense
20.05 – Robbie Gould, K, Bears
QBs – Drew Brees, Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck
RBs – Chris Johnson, C.J. Spiller, Willis McGahee, Jahvid Best, Bernard Scott, Knowshon Moreno
WRs – Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Doug Baldwin, Stephen Hill
TEs – Dustin Keller, Owen Daniels, Tony Moeaki
DEF – Giants
K – Robbie Gould
I’ve got a stud QB and 3 WRs who should catch 75+ balls. That will go a long way in this PPR format. My RB corps is boom-or-bust. But it’s full of players who are heavily-involved in their teams’ passing games. If Spiller, McGahee, or Best can give me top-15 production, it’s a strong group. I’m lacking an elite TE, but I should be able to cobble together top-8 production between Keller, Daniels, and Moeaki.